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Phala Phala Game farm in Vingerkraal in Limpopo. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE
Phala Phala Game farm in Vingerkraal in Limpopo. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

A concealed heist at the president’s Phala Phala game farm is a scandal. Equally, presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya’s spin amounted to sweet nothing, fraught with so much nonsense that it insulted our intelligence.

Magwenya claimed to be awaiting reconciled receipts of the sum of money exchanged for stock in 2020, because he couldn’t disprove what’s in the public domain. That’s absurd, as there should have been a journal of cash received, with a sales tax record retained for audit purposes. President Cyril Ramaphosa can’t hide behind receipts.

Magwenya should tell citizens the truth like it is, including clearing the air of speculation on the amount stolen, and save his rhetorical slant for the kindergarten. Silence is suspicious and secrecy is no disguise in public affairs. Nor will a wait-and-see strategy make speculation go away. Instead it crystallises the assertion that Ramaphosa failed to exercise the common sense and leadership expected of a head of state.

Intrigue and plots aside, the president failed in his responsibility to report a crime. This is tragic: fugitives who should have been serving time in jail for robbery and possession of foreign currency are still at large. Worse, a case that could have been investigated in 2020 was concealed to escape mention in the crime statistics.

That means this is not so much about a criminal complaint against Ramaphosa, but the breach of his oath of office. And he violated the public trust to the point of disgrace. Needless to say, there’s a growing suspicion that his farm is a nest of money laundering.

Likewise, when undisclosed cash goes missing in a “robbery” that is unknown to the authorities, is it not tax evasion in disguise? Either way, Ramaphosa has a case to answer.

Morgan Phaahla

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